This Black Sesame Cake is a popular Hong Kong (Cantonese) Style cake that is traditionally made with water chestnut flour and black sesame paste or puree and typically steamed not baked. Another common and well-liked dessert in Hong Kong is the black sesame rolls made with glutinous rice flour and black sesame paste. There are many customary black sesame Chinese desserts that include sweet black sesame soup (tong shui), mooncakes with black sesame fillings, black sesame dumplings (tang yuan), sesame seeds balls (jian dui), black sesame flaky pastries, black sesame steamed buns, etc. Other black sesame desserts include Japanese mochi (black sesame glutinous rice balls), baked breads, buns, cookies, ice cream, puddings, cakes, cupcakes, brownies, candies etc. Both black and white sesame seeds are made into oil as well as sesame paste or tahini. They are also often used as a garnish, sprinkles or toppings for presentation and an extra layer of flavour and crunch for dishes like salads, soups, grilled meat or seafood, steamed or roasted vegetables, stir-fries, rice, noodles, pasta, sushi, hamburger buns and/or a wide variety of desserts in many cuisines. For my gluten free black sesame cake, I am using gluten free self-raising flour, finely ground black sesame seeds, rapadura sugar, vegan butter, rice milk and desiccated coconut. Then the cake is baked in the oven resulting in a cake that is very similar to Western chocolate brownies. In addition, I have added pistachio nuts and black sesame seeds buttercream frosting to the cake for a tasty treat. This recipe is not only gluten free, it is also low carbs, vegan, dairy free, egg free, soy free and refined sugar free.
Sesame (Sesamum indicum), also called benne, is an annual flowering plant in the genus of Sesamum that belongs to the Pedaliaceae family. The sesame plant produces adorable tube-like flowers that yields tiny teardrop shape like and oil-rich seeds with a range of colours from white, soft red, brown and black. The sesame seeds grow in a pod that split up when the seeds ripen. The sesame seeds have a sweet nutty flavour that is enriched by toasting with crunchy texture. They originated in India and is believed to be one of the oldest condiments and the oldest edible oil seeds used for salad dressings and cooking for more than 5,500 years. Sesame seeds are grown for culinary uses as well as for traditional medicines. The most widely available are white and black sesame seeds that are commonly used in cuisines all over the world. White sesame seeds are hulled and have a subtle flavour and mildly sweet, while the black sesame seeds are unhulled with a fuller flavour and more intense aroma. Today, the sesame plant is extensively cultivated globally, mainly in the tropical, subtropical and southern moderate regions of the world.
Nutritional Values and Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
Sesame Seeds, both hulled and unhulled are a good source of 2 types of lignan dietary fiber not found in other plants. These sesame lignans have beneficial antioxidants called phenylpropanoid compounds that contain rare substances named sesamin and sesamolin. They are a nutritious source of plant protein, especially hulled and roasted sesame and have very low glycemic index (GI) indicating that they do not trigger an upsurge in blood sugar level after consuming them. Sesame Seeds have high quality fat content with up to 80 percent are good fats rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids and only 15 percent of saturated fats. Both the white and black sesame seeds are a great source of copper with similar amount of it. They are also an excellent source of minerals and vitamin, namely manganese, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, zinc, molybdenum, selenium and vitamin B1 (thiamine). But unhulled black sesame seeds have higher calcium than its white counterpart eventhough they both consist of the same amount of magnesium. They are often consumed as a substitute to dairy milk by people who have dairy allergies for their high calcium content. Sesame seeds are also a good source of vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
Health benefits of sesame seeds include: promote a healthy digestive system; help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol; reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases; support healthy bones and teeth; assist in reducing stress and anxiety; may help reduce inflammation in the body especially rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis; maintain healthy blood pressure; lower risks of colon cancer; boosts the body’s immune system and support healthy blood sugar level.